The court-appointed special master tasked with drawing New York's new congressional and state Senate maps released a preliminary draft of the new congressional boundaries Monday the state will have for the next decade.
Carnegie Mellon University Fellow Jonathan Cervas as special master drew lines for the state's 26 House seats, with 15 leaning Democratic, three leaning Republican and eight falling in the 45-55% competitive range. The new map splits 15 counties within the new maps compared to 34 county splits under the Legislature's plan struck down by the state's highest court for unconstitutional gerrymandering April 27.
Every district was drawn to have between 776,970 and 776,972 constituents per congressional seat.
"There's only a one-person deviation in this map, which is very precise," said Jeff Wice, senior fellow at the N.Y. Census & Redistricting Institute at New York Law School. "We don't have contorted or oddly shaped maps or districts. Nearly all of them are more compact now. They seem to reflect more communities and counties kept in tact."
The biggest changes from the maps drawn by state Democratic lawmakers in February include the 22nd District in Central New York. The district, which Democrats had drawn to include the cities of Syracuse and Ithaca, now includes all of Onondaga, Madison and Oneida counties in the special master's maps. The 19th District, which had been heavily Hudson Valley-centered, extends from Columbia County to Broome County and Cortland County. That district is currently represented by U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado, who is expected to resign and be sworn in as the state's next lieutenant governor later this month.
The 21st District, currently represented by Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik, extends south to include all of Montgomery and Schoharie counties and northern Saratoga County.
“I look forward to running for re-election in NY-21 where I have been honored and humbled to earn historic support every election cycle!" Stefanik said in a statement after the map's release. "I will always work my very hardest to deliver real results for the hardworking families in Upstate New York and the North Country.”
The 24th District continues to largely include Lake Ontario shoreline areas from extreme eastern Erie County to Jefferson County, save for the Greater Rochester area.
"The map maintains Democratic strongholds in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany, and also maintains a Southern Tier district," Wice said. "Overall, the districts are very compact across the state. The downstate districts are very compact."
The maps also change the dynamic in downstate New York with the 3rd Congressional District including parts of Nassau and Queens counties — dismantling a previous boundary that spanned five counties — and removing a section of Queens from the 4th District currently represented by U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks, a Democrat representing the 5th District.
The new map places more Democratic neighborhoods of Brooklyn in the 11th District represented by Republican U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, and creates a separate district in lower Manhattan that extends into areas of Brooklyn, likely ensuring Jerry Nadler's re-election.
The New York City district of U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat, was limited to the East and West sides of Manhattan.
The new state Senate boundaries were expected to be published later Monday afternoon.
Cervas was required to submit the maps by May 20.
The maps are open for public comment through Wednesday and Supreme Court Justice Patrick McCallister will move to finalize the plans by Friday.
"Barring any technical or mapping errors, the court is unlikely to make any substantive changes," Wice said. "It brings to a sense of finality through the nearly six-month redistricting process and voters will know by Friday that these districts will, in fact, be those they'll go to the polls for in August for the primary."
Primaries for U.S. House and state Senate races were pushed back to Aug. 23. The primary election for the statewide offices and state Assembly races will take place June 28.
A new redistricting challenge to the state Assembly maps started Monday by Republican activist Gavin Wax, Democratic Greene County businessman Gary Greenberg and Paul Nichols, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate. McCallister ruled last week there is insufficient time to redraw the Assembly maps, which he said were drawn improperly, but were not part of the initial legal challenge.
Wice said the new challenge to the Assembly maps will be difficult to prove after McCallister's decision last week.
"The complaint filed this morning seeks to invalidate the map that Judge McCallister already has approved for use this year," he added. "It's really late to try to do that, especially in light of Judge McCallister's decision."
To compare current election lines with the new boundaries, visit newyork.redistrictingandyou.org